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Delaware Chancery Court


What is the history of the Delaware Chancery Court?

The Delaware Chancery Court has a long history. Even though Delaware had no provision for a Chancery Court in the original Delaware Constitution of 1776, the Court of Chancery was established when the Delaware Constitution was revised in 1792.

William Killen was the first Chancellor of the Court. Killen was a highly respected incumbent Chief Justice of Delaware. When George Read was being considered as the new Chief Justice of Delaware, he refused unless provisions were made for Judge Killen.

To solve the problem, a new court was established for Judge Killen. This was the beginning of the Delaware Court of Chancery.

What is the history of chancery courts in general?

The English common law system is where we first see the Court of Chancery. The English had separate courts to hear matters of law or equity.

Delaware recognized the importance of the English common law. Delaware saw value in the Chancery Court system. Even though England abolished the Chancery Court in 1873-75 and New York abolished the Chancery Court in 1847, Delaware did not follow the reforms of New York and England.

 


What is the jurisdiction for the Delaware Chancery Court?

The court's jurisdiction is a mix of statutues, case law and constitutional provisions.

The court hears and determines all matters and causes of equity. The Court mostly hears cases regarding corporate matters, estates, trust, disputes involving the sale or purchase of land, questions regarding real estate title issues, and contractual and commercial matters.

The Delaware constitution establishes the Court via Article IV, section 10. There is only one Chancellor. The Chancellor is the chief judicial officer. There are four Vice Chancellors. The Court also has two Masters in Chancery. The Masters assist in matters as needed and are assigned by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors.

 

How many judges are on the Chancery Court?

Five (5) judges hear all chancery court cases.

Does the Chancery Court have a jury?

The Court does not have a jury. The presiding Chancellor or Vice Chancellor determines all issues of fact. The Court may appoint a jury that would be in an advisory role. However, this power is rarely exercised.

How important is the Chancery Court to the companies that incorporate in Delaware?

One of main reasons that companies are incorporated in Delaware is because of the Chancery Court. When businesses have disputes they want a fair and impartial court to decide matters of corporate equity.  

 

Do any other states have a chancery court?

Only 5 states have Chancery Courts. They are Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Constitutions of these states have statutues that provide for chancery courts.

These states seek to preserve the distinctions between law and equity and between courts of law and courts of equity.

 

Who is the current Chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court?

The current chancellor is André Bouchard. Chancellor Bouchard has been Chancellor since 2014.

Where can I find the Delaware Chancery Court rules?

The Court has a special page for all of its rules on this website page.

Where can I find the filings for the Chancery Court?

The Chancery Court opinions are on this website page.

Where are the Chancery Courts located in Delaware?

New Castle County:

Leonard L. Williams Justice Center (formerly New Castle County Courthouse)
500 North King Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Phone Number: 302-255-0544

Kent County:

Kent County Courthouse
414 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am* - 4:30pm
Phone Number: 302-735-1930
Fax Number: 302-735-2155

Sussex County:

Court of Chancery Courthouse
34 The Circle
Georgetown, DE 19947
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Phone Number: 302-856-5777

 

Where can I find the forms for the Delaware Chancery Court?

All forms for use with Delaware Chancery court can be found at the state of Delaware website located here.

 

We hope this section was beneficial to you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-423-2993 or 302-996-5819. Thank you for your interest in Delaware Chancery Court.




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